"NEW ORLEANS -- Critics of a presidential commission's preliminary findings that largely supported BP's internal probe of the Gulf oil spill questioned Monday how anyone could suggest money wasn't put ahead of safety in the days before the disaster.
'Why cut corners if it is not for money?' said Billy Nungesser, the president of oil-soaked Plaquemines Parish, La.
Nungesser also challenged the statement from the commission's chief investigator, who said he agreed with about 90 percent of what BP said in its internal report released in early September.
'I really feel for the families of these 11 victims,' Nungesser said. 'Here they are hoping and praying that their loved ones lost would set some fundamental change and protection so things would be different. If we are gonna not be honest with everybody, including the American public, about what happened and why — then these people died in vain.'
Daniel Becnel, a Louisiana lawyer suing BP and others over the oil spill, said the commission's findings about money not being a factor are 'absolutely absurd.'
'The reason is it so absurd is because BP is known to paste over safety, especially if it involved money and downtime,' Becnel said. 'They couldn't afford any more downtime on that rig.'"
Harry R. Weber reports for the Associated Press November 8, 2010.